Mozilla said this week that it has reverse-engineered the horrible new Default Apps interface in Windows 11, allowing its users to more easily switch the default browser away from Microsoft Edge.
“People should have the ability to simply and easily set defaults, but they don’t,” a Mozilla spokesperson said. “All operating systems should offer official developer support for default status so people can easily set their apps as default. Since that hasn’t happened on Windows 10 and 11, Firefox relies on other aspects of the Windows environment to give people an experience similar to what Windows provides to Edge when users choose Firefox to be their default browser.”
I was among the first to note that Windows 11 had dramatically changed how configuring default apps works back in early August. And since then, third-party tools like EdgeDeflector have emerged to make this process simpler.
But Mozilla is the first company impacted by the horrible new Windows 11 behavior to take this matter into its own hands. And I’m curious now whether it can share the method with other browser makers. And if Microsoft will work to prevent Mozilla’s workaround.
That said, Mozilla has been complaining about how the Default Apps interface works since the release of Windows 10 in July 2015.
“These changes are unsettling because there are millions of users who love Windows and who are having their choices ignored, and because of the increased complexity put into everyone’s way if and when they choose to make a choice different than what Microsoft prefers,” Mozilla CEO Chris Beard wrote at the time. “We strongly urge you to reconsider your business tactic here and again respect people’s right to choice and control of their online experience by making it easier, more obvious, and intuitive for people to maintain the choices they have already made through the upgrade experience.”
Well, flash forward 6 years and only one thing has changed: Microsoft has made it even harder for users to configure Windows 10 to respect their default app choices. And so Mozilla, correctly, I think, has taken action.